Revisiting things 6 years later

A friend of mine is in Barcelona. I remembered a great restaurant I went to and the review I wrote. While searching for the review I found something else I wrote 6 years ago;

Hype is like cancer that spreads until it obliterates all facts in their wake.

Currently the Google word processor is being hyped as the alternative to using MS Word.

About two years ago I tried to use Open Office. MS Word was going to cost me an arm and a leg and I had every incentive. A month of painful struggle and irritation at what was an inferior and ultimately unusable product as compared to MS Word, I shelled out the big bucks.

Google Docs is an impressive piece of web software, and certainly superior to wordpress’ text editor widget. However, I am pretty sure, that I prefer using MS Word if I ever have to write any document.

Nonetheless, this document was written using google doc.

My next task is to see if I can get MS Word to publish directly to my blog….

And for the record, Open Office was far more usable.

It’s 6 years later, and it’s painfully obvious that Google Docs is the alternative to MS Office products.

One of the interesting side effects of being disrupted is that you can stare at the disruption and it.

Google Doc’s was clearly a primitive version of MS Office, but it was good enough for some tasks and it was cheaper and simpler to manage than MS Office. Use Google Docs and you don’t need shared storage, license keys, a Microsoft deal etc.

What I didn’t understand 6 years ago was how computers and infrastructure were becoming free. As the cost per user declines, it becomes possible to offer a service for free for most people and charge a small number of people a small amount of money and still come out very much ahead.

Google Doc and SaaS is the destroyer of traditional IT and the vendors that support it. The process may take time, but it is a tidal wave of destruction that will leave new players in its wake.

The arrow of time moves forward and now I find myself practically never using MS Office because Google docs are free and easy to use. Sure I can’t write everything I want in them, but I don’t care.

tl;dr The latest laptop I bought does not have Office installed because I prefer to use Google Docs.

2 thoughts on “Revisiting things 6 years later

  1. Dave

    I like Google Docs a lot. Their simplicity makes them easy to use. It is wonderful that they are available everywhere. The shared-access functionality makes them downright magical, even if you’re the only one working on a document (not only can I finish a document at home I have open at work, I can see where I was when I left off).

    That said, like many Google products, they are half-baked. Ironically, the above advantages are jiu-jitsued into frustration when you’ve happily completed 90% of what you need in Google Docs and discover the last 10% is impossible, known to be impossible, and moreover is the subject of ignored forum postings going back years. You are usually forced to switch from a simple and problem-focused tool to some traditional omnibus office monstrosity just to get something basic like footers on slides in a presentation (hardly an exotic feature). All the time spent in Google Docs was time not spent incrementally making progress along the new tool’s steeper, longer learning curve, so instead you must traverse that curve all at once at the last minute usually for a benefit well out of proportion with the effort required. The sharp contrast between the two experiences is what makes it particularly unpleasant.

    I’ll repeat, I like Google Docs a lot. I think the model is great, and the level of functionality in some of the tools is just about right. The sorry state of others, however, makes it look like the whole experience — good or bad — is less a result of design and more an accident stumbled upon by Google. Seeing problems not get fixed makes me feel like you or I might be far more invested in these tools than Google is.

    1. kostadis roussos Post author

      really good points there.

      I guess I view Google Docs as the document editor of choice for anything but the polished document. Since most of the stuff I do, does not require a really well finished document, Google Doc is awesome.

      And yes, when I have to move to Office because I need the polished document, I am not a happy camper.


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